YMCA Camp Ockanickon has a new name …. YMCA of the Pines
Mark Dibble, CEO of YMCA Camp Ockanickon in Medford, announced
this week that the 112-year-old organization will officially change its name to
YMCA of the Pines, effective December 12, 2018.
Dibble explained that the new name – YMCA of the Pines - will
reflect the true nature of the year-round organization that for decades has
been known primarily as a summer camp.
“Many people don’t realize that our reach and impact extend
far beyond our popular summer camps – Ockanickon for boys, Matollionequay for
girls and co-ed Lake Stockwell Day Camp,” Dibble said, explaining the rationale
for the name change. “We impact the lives of children, teens and families 52
weeks a year. During non-summer months, we offer before- and after-school
childcare, teen leadership, family programs, outdoor education and recreation
programs, corporate teambuilding and retreats, school trips, conferences and financial
aid for those in need. We’re so much more than a summer camp!”
The CEO said he wants to reassure the community that the
name change has nothing to do with a merger or a buy-out. “This was an internal
decision, stemming from discussions that began well over a year ago,” he said.
“We haven’t been taken over; we haven’t been bought out. We still have the same
key team members on our staff and board of directors. We will continue to be
good neighbors and to be there to meet community needs.”
Dibble explained that in recent years, it became apparent
that having the organization’s name the same as the boys camp name created
confusion and limited the public’s perception of the nonprofit organization.
“While YMCA Camp Ockanickon is well known in the South
Jersey community and beyond, we wanted a name and a vision that is inclusive of
all of our camps and departments,” the CEO added. “We want people to know that while
our name is changing, we aren’t changing. We’re just positioning ourselves to
better serve the community. In fact, our organization’s vision statement is ‘a
better world for all,’ and we’re truly committed to that concept.”
The organization was established in 1906 as a place for
young men to spend their summers while strengthening their characters. The camp’s
name honors Ockanickon, chief of the Mantas Lenape tribe and an early Native
American friend to the settlers in Burlington County. In 1937, the girls camp,
Matollionequay, was added, named for Chief Ockanickon’s wife. In 1990, Lake Stockwell
Day Camp was started to give local children more summer options.
(Interestingly, the day camp name has no Native American connection; Stockwell
was the lawyer who brokered the land purchase for the camp.)
“We’re very proud of the historic name Ockanickon, and we’re
certain that it conjures endless happy memories for generations of campers,”
Dibble said. “And Ockanickon is still the name of our boys camp, so it’s still
part of who we are. But we’re confident that the name YMCA of the Pines will better
represent who we are and where we are – in the heart of the Pine Barrens. We’re
excited for this change, and we hope the community will embrace our new name,
YMCA of the Pines is an interfaith, charitable association dedicated to
helping children, teens and families explore, grow, thrive and ultimately
become the best version of themselves. It is located on 800 acres off Stokes Road in
Medford. For more information, reach out at email@example.com or call 609-654-8225.